RBT Remote Testing Restrictions Beginning March 1, 2021

When in-person testing was restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BACB sought approval from its accrediting body to participate in an exception program that offered flexibility for RBT candidates by permitting remote testing, with the understanding that additional data collection and security measures would be required. Remote testing became available for the RBT certification program on April 15, 2020.

On March 1, 2021, in response to typical examination-security concerns associated with remote testing, the BACB will begin restricting remote testing in select geographic regions as needed. If remote testing does not appear as an option at the time of examination-appointment scheduling, it is due to these restrictions, and in-person testing will still be available.

To learn more about the RBT remote testing restrictions, please visit our BACB COVID-19 Updates web page.

RBT Remote Testing Restrictions

When in-person testing was restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BACB sought approval from its accrediting body to participate in an exception program that offered flexibility for RBT candidates by permitting remote testing, with the understanding that additional data collection and security measures would be required. Remote testing became available for the RBT certification program on April 15, 2020.

On March 1, 2021, in response to typical examination-security concerns associated with remote testing, the BACB began restricting remote testing in select geographic regions as needed. If remote testing does not appear as an option at the time of examination-appointment scheduling, it is due to these restrictions, and in-person testing will still be available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Remote testing was approved in 2020 by the NCCA in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Maintaining this examination-delivery method requires additional security measures, including restrictions when necessary, to meet the security requirements for the administration of high-stakes examinations.


The BACB continually monitors data from all of our examinations. When suspicious scores in any geographic region reach a particular threshold, we restrict access to remote testing in that region for an undetermined period of time to prevent lapses in examination security.


RBT candidates will be aware of the restriction at the time of scheduling their examination. If remote testing does not appear as an option at the time of examination-appointment scheduling, it is due to these restrictions, and in-person testing will still be available.


As an RBT Supervisor, you will need the help of the RBT candidates under your supervision to determine whether they are in a restricted area. Because restricted areas are updated regularly, the BACB is not able to provide additional information about geographic regions to supervisors or RBT candidates.

 

New Blog: Tips for New Certificants

This year, many individuals have met their eligibility requirements, passed their examination, and earned their BACB certification. As a resource for these new certificants, the BACB has released the Tips for New Certificants blog. Read on to learn about the importance of updating your BACB account, establishing a maintenance plan, and more.

For more tips for certificants, please visit our BACB Blog web page.

Tips for New Certificants

Tips for New Certificants

First things first—congratulations! You met your eligibility requirements, passed your examination, and earned your certification. You just successfully finished what some believe to be the hardest part of becoming an RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA.

But now you’re facing a whole new set of challenges, including maintaining your certification and assuming your new role. To help you start off on the right foot, here are a few tips for your first weeks as a certificant.

Tip #1: Review the contact information in your BACB account

When you earn your certification, it’s important to review your BACB account and update any outdated or incorrect information. Although the BACB strongly encourages applicants to review and update their contact information as changes occur, this tip is especially important once you pass your examination and earn your certification.

But why is this review so crucial?

For one, within 4–6 weeks of passing your BCBA or BCaBA examination, your official certificate will arrive at the mailing address listed in your BACB account—however outdated that address may be. So, to prevent a mailing mishap, be sure to update your home address. Also take care to review your name, phone number, and email address, as outdated or incorrect information in any of these fields may create a problem down the line.

Tip #2: Get familiar with the Certificant Registry

The Certificant Registry is a database that includes vital information about all BACB certificants, including their location; certification number, status, and activation/recertification date; disciplinary actions or sanctions, if any; and availability for supervision services. It’s a valuable resource for employers, service recipients, applicants, and certificants alike, so we recommend getting to know it a little bit better.

As a new certificant, you will not appear in the database immediately. Like your certificant number, which may take up to 24 hours to appear in your BACB account, your name may take up to 48 hours to appear in the Certificant Registry. At that point, your certification information will become public.

Once your information is public, potential employers and supervisors can use the Certificant Registry to verify your certification. You can also use the registry to find and contact supervisors in your area if or when necessary. But be careful—as stated earlier, if your address is not updated in your BACB account, the registry may not reflect your current location.

We encourage you to give the Certificant Registry a try—maybe even search your own name to see how you will appear to others!

Tip #3: Update your resume and curriculum vitae

This tip is as short and sweet as they come, but it’s important nonetheless: Don’t forget to list your new certification on your resume and/or curriculum vitae! Once you enter the working world, you’ll want to ensure that your new title—and all of the hard work that went into getting it—is reflected on paper for potential employers to see.

Tip #4: Research your state’s licensure requirements

If you are a BACB certificant who intends to practice in the United States, you must adhere to your state’s licensure requirements before practicing or billing. This tip may be the most crucial in this list, as ABA practitioners who practice without licensure in regulated states may face serious consequences, such as disciplinary actions against their certification or even incarceration.

Follow these steps to learn more:

  1. Visit our U.S. Licensure of Behavior Analysts web page.
  2. If your state is regulated, click on your state in the table to navigate to its regulatory board website.
  3. There, you can find detailed information about your state’s licensure requirements and applications, if necessary.

Tip #5: Establish a maintenance plan

“There’s no such thing as too early!” – Bird that got the worm

It never hurts to be prepared, which is why it’s a great idea to begin establishing a plan to meet the maintenance requirements for your certification as soon as possible. As an RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA, you must meet specific requirements and complete certain tasks before you are able to recertify. It’s helpful to keep those to-dos in mind and plan ahead to avoid a last-minute panic or, at worst, an expired certification.

To create a maintenance plan, find out the length of your recertification cycle, the continuing education (CE) requirements that you must meet, if any, and the tasks that you must complete within the 45-day period before your recertification date. Then, do your research! Visit the Continuing Education tab in your BACB account to find a summary of the continuing education units needed for your current certification cycle or review the RBT Renewal Competency Assessment Packet—maybe even mark your target milestones on a calendar or planning app.

To get started, check out the following table to see a basic overview of the current BACB maintenance requirements for each certification.

Overview of Maintenance Requirements
Certification Recertification Date CE Requirements Ongoing Requirements 45 Days Before Recertification Date
RBT 1 year from original certification date Not applicable
  • Abide by the RBT Ethics Code (2.0) and self-reporting requirements
  • Meet the ongoing supervision requirements
  • Complete a renewal competency assessment with a qualified assessor
  • Renew certification
BCaBA 2 years from original certification date
  • Complete 20 CEUs (4 in Ethics, 3 in Supervision if applicable)
  • Enter CEUs in your BACB account
  • Abide by BACB ethics and self-reporting requirements
  • Meet the ongoing supervision requirements
Recertify
BCBA/BCBA-D 2 years from original certification date
  • Complete 32 CEUs (4 in Ethics, 3 in Supervision if applicable)
  • Enter CEUs in your BACB account
Abide by BACB ethics and self-reporting requirements Recertify

For more detailed, in-depth information about current BACB maintenance requirements, please visit the RBT, BCaBA, or BCBA Handbook.

Tip #6: Check out the Resources tab in your BACB account

As a new BCBA or BCaBA, you have access to multiple behavior-analytic scholarly journals and databases. These journals and databases may be helpful resources for you as you integrate current research into your behavior-analytic practice activities—and the best part is that through your BACB account, they’re free!

We encourage you to take some time to explore the Resources tab, as spending time in behavior-analytic literature is one of the best ways to stay in the know about advancements in the field. In fact, in a profession that is rapidly advancing, your education will continue long after you pass your examination.

. . .

These six tips are not the end-all, be-all of your first weeks as a BACB certificant. No matter how thoroughly you plan and prepare, you will surely run into hiccups and roadblocks at one point or another. That’s simply the nature of doing something new. Even so, we hope that these tips help you more confidently assume your new role.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to applied behavior analysis. We are so happy to have you as a certificant. Best of luck!

Tips for a Smooth RBT Certification Application

5 BACB Resources You May Not Know About

Note: The information in this blog may be outdated. Please see the 5 Must-Know RBT Application Tips blog post for up-to-date information.

So, you’ve decided to take your career to the next level and pursue certification as a Registered Behavior Technician, or RBT.

Congratulations! We’re rooting for your success, so we’ve put together some tips that will make the RBT application process as quick and simple as possible.

Tip #1: Read the RBT Handbook in full


This isn’t your everyday Terms of Service agreement.

Before completing your RBT application, it’s important to carefully review the RBT Handbook in full. In fact, we suggest that you review the handbook with the person who will become your RBT Supervisor or RBT Requirements Coordinator, as they will also be involved in the application process.

The RBT Handbook is a vital resource for potential RBT applicants because, among other relevant information, it includes:

  • a detailed description of the requirements you must meet to become certified
  • an overview of the application process
  • the documents that are required when applying

The RBT Handbook should be your go-to resource when applying to sit for the RBT certification examination. If you take the time to review it in advance, you’ll become familiar with each requirement and every nitty-gritty detail, which can only mean one thing: smooth sailing ahead!

Tip #2: Create your BACB account yourself


We get by with a little help from our friends—just not while making our BACB accounts.

Be sure to create your BACB account yourself with your personal email address. Do not have anyone, including your future RBT Supervisor or employer, create your account on your behalf. Also refrain from using your work or school email address when signing up, as you may lose access to your BACB account if you lose access to that email address.

When you create your own BACB account with a personal email address, you will have full access to and control over your account when it’s time to renew your certification down the road. Your BACB account is the doorway to your certification, and that certification belongs to you and you alone!

Tip #3: Thoroughly review your application documentation


Don’t let these be your famous last words: “It’ll be fine. I don’t need to double check!”


Before you click submit, it’s important to double check that your application meets all the documentation requirements expected of RBT candidates. As stated earlier, it’s a good idea to review your application with your future RBT Supervisor. Another set of eyes will help ensure that all the documentation requirements are properly met.

Unfortunately, the BACB has been receiving a high volume of applications with documentation that fails to meet the proper requirements. Here are a few reminders based on the most frequent issues we’re seeing:

  • Upload the correct documents into the RBT application and make sure that all necessary pages are included.
  • Check that your RBT 40-hour training certificate includes this statement: “This training program was based on the RBT Task List (2nd ed.) and is designed to meet the 40-hour training requirement for RBT certification. The program is offered independent of the BACB.”
  • Complete the Initial Competency Assessment within 90 days of submitting your application payment. In this form, make sure that the assessor (and/or assistant assessor):
    • completes all applicable fields (e.g., your name, assessor’s name),
    • initials all applicable tasks,
    • indicates how each task was assessed, and
    • signs according to the Acceptable Signatures Policy.

Here are a few reminders that only apply in certain circumstances:

  • If the Responsible Assessor for your Initial Competency Assessment determined that the “with a client” waiver was applicable to you during the COVID-19 pandemic, please make sure to merge your COVID-19 attestation and Initial Competency Assessment into one PDF before submitting.
  • If the documentation that shows you have met the education requirements is in another language, please make sure to have it officially translated into English before submitting.

In the mad dash to submit your application, it’s easy to accidentally forget a document, statement, or signature. But, if information is missing from your application or if the provided documentation doesn’t indicate that you meet the necessary requirements, you may experience delays beyond the standard two-week processing time.

We recognize how important it is to move through the application process quickly so that you can become certified and move forward in your career. That’s why it’s vital to double check that your documentation is complete and meets the appropriate requirements for RBT candidates. That way, we can send you off to sit for the RBT examination as soon as possible!

To view current application processing times, please visit the Customer Service Updates page on the BACB’s website.

Tip #4: Hang in there


The path to certification can be stressful and difficult at times, but being fully prepared can ease the pressure. If you take this advice and reach out to your supervisor for additional support when you need it, the application process will feel relatively painless and far less daunting. We sincerely hope that these tips improve your RBT certification application experience. Best of luck, future RBT!

New Blog: Tips for a Smooth RBT Certification Application

Getting ready to apply for your RBT certification or helping someone apply for RBT certification? In our latest blog, we’re sharing 4 simple yet essential tips for making the application process a success. We developed these recommendations to make the process smoother and help you reach your goals more quickly.

For more RBT applications tips, please visit our BACB Blog web page.

The Role of the BACB

In our latest blog, we’re answering common questions about the role of the BACB, such as: How do we set standards and why? How do we fit into the profession of behavior analysis? Learn about the differences between the BACB and membership associations, why we're here to regulate the profession of behavior analysis, and much more.

For more interesting information about the BACB, please visit our BACB Blog web page.

The BACB: What It Is, What It Does, and Why

The BACB: What It Is, What It Does, and Why

It doesn’t matter if you have been a BACB certificant for many years, are newly certified, or are just starting to explore becoming a practitioner of behavior analysis—it is likely that you have a number of questions about the landscape of the applied behavior analysis (ABA) profession. This is where the importance of understanding the role of the BACB in the profession comes in.

The BACB was established in 1998 to meet the credentialing needs of ABA practitioners, governments, and consumers of ABA services. In the BACB’s early years, its certification programs grew consistently but slowly. In its first 13 years, the BACB certified 10,000 individuals. In the last several years, this number has grown to more than 120,000 certificants! In addition, since 2009, 34 states have passed laws to license behavior analysts. These developments mean that professional certification and the credentialing of ABA practitioners are relatively recent events, about which many people have questions. These include: What is the BACB’s role? What is credentialing and why is it important? Why can’t the BACB speak for behavior analysis? To get a better understanding of how it all works, read on for answers to these common questions.

What Is The BACB?

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) is:

  • A nonprofit organization – The BACB was founded in Florida as a nonprofit corporation in 1998 and has 501(c)(3) tax–exempt status from the IRS. Both of these legal and regulatory frameworks place important limits on BACB activity.
  • A credentialing organization – The primary function of the BACB is to operate certification programs, similar to a regulatory entity. In this role, the BACB provides practice requirements, ethics codes, and Code-Enforcement Procedures that are designed to protect consumers, applicants, and certificants, among other certification–program activities. In this capacity, ABA practitioners must interact with the BACB regularly to maintain their certification.

What Is Credentialing and Why Is It Important?

As mentioned earlier, the BACB’s certification programs exist as a regulatory–like mechanism to protect consumers of behavior–analytic services. To protect consumers, the BACB establishes entry–level eligibility standards for education and training AND provides a mechanism to address behavior analysis practitioners who violate BACB ethics code(s).

Professional Credentialing

Credentialing is vital to the profession of behavior analysis because of the particularly vulnerable populations that a majority of behavior analysis practitioners serve. Without credentialing, how would we know who is qualified to enter the profession and who isn’t?

Two of the many differences between private certification and government–issued licensure are highlighted in the following text boxes because these are the two primary ways behavior analysts are credentialed to practice.

Private Certification (BACB)

  • Voluntary
  • Code enforcement is limited to those certified by the BACB or applying for BACB certification, and consequences may be imposed on an individual’s certification or their ability to apply.

Licensure (34 states)

  • Mandatory
  • Disciplinary enforcement may be enacted upon anyone practicing, with or without a license, and consequences include substantial fines and possible incarceration.

 

In the ABA profession, practitioners who obtain certification by the BACB have a great deal of mobility because their certification will meet licensure requirements in almost any state with licensure for the practice of behavior analysis. For more information about US state licensure, please refer to the BACB’s US Licensure of Behavior Analysts web page or visit APBA’s Licensure and Other Regulation of ABA Practitioners web page.

NCCA Accreditation and Consumer Protection

All three of the BACB’s current certification programs are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The BACB must adhere to NCCA–established accreditation processes, similar to the way BACB certificants and applicants must meet BACB requirements.

Using the NCCA accreditation processes, the BACB convenes groups of subject matter experts (SMEs) to evaluate and potentially revise requirements for each BACB credential. SME recommendations are then voted on by the BACB Board of Directors before they are adopted. Through this process, the requirements change as needed to ensure greater consumer protection through standards that accurately reflect the ever–evolving practice of behavior analysis. As usual, everything comes back to consumer protection.

For anyone interested in a little more reading about the processes that are used by the BACB to develop standards and examinations, they are outlined in a number of publications that can be found on our BACB Resources web page. In addition, you can give us feedback if you have suggestions for SMEs to consider when they revise requirements by submitting a Certification Program Requirements: Request for Change form.

What Is the BACB’s Role in The ABA Profession?

The major professional organizations in ABA have very specific missions and roles and substantial limitations on their activities from various sources. These limitations include state laws where the organization was founded as a nonprofit, IRS rules, and for the BACB, our NCCA accreditation requirements. Let’s start with the role of the BACB.

To recap, the BACB’s job is to credential practitioners of behavior analysis and to coordinate with regulatory authorities. Although we are sometimes called upon to engage in advocacy and political and social commentary, our involvement in these activities is necessarily restricted by some of the entities mentioned earlier. In our regulatory–like role, the BACB is prohibited from engaging in political activity and has very strict limitations on its acceptable activities. That said, a number of the questions we receive indicate that some think of the BACB as a professional membership association, with flexibility about our public behavior. Although we sometimes wish we could engage in a broader array of advocacy activities, we have a very limited role in ABA—again, due to restrictions imposed upon us by certain legal statutes and IRS rules. It’s useful to think about the BACB as similar to a licensure board since we serve a similar and often interrelated regulatory function. It is notable to mention here that other professions may have certification boards that look like the BACB in function but are regulated differently under law and IRS rules, which allows them greater flexibility than the BACB. We know that this makes understanding our limitations pretty tricky!

A professional membership association is charged with representing the interests of its members and speaking on behalf of a profession. The BACB doesn’t have members; we have certificants. Fortunately, ABA has a number of state, provincial, and national professional associations to serve the membership role.

Two major professional membership associations in behavior analysis are the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) and the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). These organizations were established to provide different services than a certification board and are permitted much more flexibility in their permissible activities, including making public statements and taking a stand on social issues. We strongly encourage our certificants to become members in their state and national professional associations if they have not already. In fact, at the very beginning of a certificant’s professional experience, we send a welcome letter encouraging them to join and become involved in their relevant professional associations. The professional membership associations are permitted to engage in a wide range of important activities. They are truly the voice of behavior analysis and have the primary obligation to represent our profession. Together, membership associations, the BACB, and, most importantly, behavior analysis practitioners and stakeholders can work to improve the discipline of behavior analysis.

We hope that this information answers some of your questions about what the BACB does and why. If you’re interested in hearing more about this topic, check out our podcast episode, The BACB’s Role in the Profession of Behavior Analysis.

Online Proctored Testing Now Available for RBT Candidates

March 21, 2022, Update: RBT remote testing restrictions are now in place. See the RBT Remote Testing Restrictions post for details.


On April 15, 2020, live, online proctored testing became available for all RBT candidates via Pearson VUE’s online delivery system, OnVUE.

With advanced features that include ID verification, session monitoring, browser lockdown, and recordings, the OnVUE platform includes security features that are necessary for remote testing. RBT candidates should note the following important information:

  • Once a candidate’s application for certification is approved, they will receive a link to schedule their remote, proctored certification examination with Pearson VUE per the usual examination scheduling process.
  • Candidates who request accommodations for the RBT certification examination must test at in-person Pearson VUE testing centers; the OnVUE platform is unable to provide candidates with testing accommodations other than adjustable font, extra time, and color contrast.
  • Pearson VUE strongly recommends using a high–speed internet connection for online testing and encourages candidates to test during less popular wireless access times. Bandwidth issues greatly affect the delivery of online testing, and such issues are beyond Pearson VUE’s‚ and the BACB’s‚ control.

Guidance for RBTs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID–19 pandemic continues to raise a lot of fearsand questions for many people around the world, and our RBTs are no exception. We encourage all RBTs to take a moment to review the general guidance we've developed to help you navigate this challenging and unprecedented time.

To learn more about COVID-19’s impact on the BACB and certificants, please visit our BACB COVID-19 Updates web page.